Every week, IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit rounds up the latest in opportunities that can help those looking to advance projects or get a career started in the film industry. The following grants, labs, fellowships, contests and other non-profit opportunities could be a great way to help kickstart your movie and TV dreams.
New Opportunities & Upcoming Deadlines
NBC’s Writers on the Verge
– NBCUniversal’s Writers on the Verge 12-week program focuses on polishing and preparing television writers for a staff writer position on a television series. Writers who are “almost there” but need assistance with their final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills are encouraged to apply. The program consists of two night classes, which will typically be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 – 10 PM weekly at NBCUniversal in Universal City, CA. Once accepted, students must attend all classes and turn in all written assignments.
Past participants have gone on to write for series including “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Community,” “Parenthood,” and “Chicago Fire,” among others.
Interested participants must complete the online application and submit a spec script. Submission window is May 1st through May 31st. More information about how to apply can be found here.
Easterseals Disability Film Challenge
– This challenge offers an opportunity for individuals with disabilities to gain essential access to the filmmaking and entertainment industry. It provides new voices — ones with and without disabilities — in film with the chance to create short films that tell diverse and underrepresented stories, all while networking with Hollywood professionals. The contest, which takes place over the weekend of April 21 – 23, gives aspiring storytellers the opportunity to write, produce, and complete a short film. Information about how to apply to the challenge can be found here.
Below is “Lefty & Loosey,” a 5 minutes short that won Best Film from the 2016 Challenge:
Film Independent Fiscal Sponsorship Program
– Receiving non-profit support could be one of the keys to helping get your project made. The problem is most productions aren’t government registered 501(c)3 organizations eligible to receive those funds.
Film Independent is looking to help solve that problem by offering what is known as “fiscal sponsorship.” Open to all types of eligible projects at every stage, the program arranges a partnership between a 501(c)3 and an independent artist that gives them the eligibility to apply for grants and solicit tax-deductible donations for their project.
More information about the program, and how to apply for it, can be found here.
ScreamCraft Horror Screenplay Contest
– Attention, horror filmmakers: This annual competition seeks fresh voices in horror film screenwriting. The competition is open for entries until the final deadline on July 1. Winners receive cash prizes and access to Hollywood industry executives who specialize in horror filmmaking. The grand prize winner will also get a phone call with acclaimed horror screenwriter C. Robert Cargill (“Sinister, Sinister 2,” “Deus Ex”). One of the 2017 judges is Sean McKittrick, who produced “Get Out,” as well as “Donnie Darko” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
To apply, you must submit your horror script. More information can be found here.
Screenwriting Lab for Women over 40
– The Lab is an intensive four-day retreat where women screenwriters over 40 work one on one with outstanding female film professionals. Mentors include screenwriters Jessica Bendinger (“Bring it On”), Amy Fox (“Equity”), Kirsten Smith (“Legally Bonde”), Pat Verducci (“True Crime”) and producers Caroline Kaplan (“Time out of Mind”), Susan Cartsonis (“What Women Want”), and Mary Jane Skalski (“The Station Agent”), Lisa Cortes (“Precious”).
The 2017 Lab will take place Thursday, September 14, to Sunday, September 17. Application Deadline: Thursday, March 30, 2017. Application details here.
This unique writers lab is present by IRIS and New York Women in Film & Television. It was funded by Meryl Streep and presented in collaboration with the Writers Guild of America East, with additional support from Final Draft.
Prize Winners Announced
2017 Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive Fellows
– The following ten projects have been choose to take part in this year’s screenwriting intensive: Donari Braxton’s “Above,” Beth de Araújo’s “Josephine,” Sarah Mintz’s “Junk Food Diary,” Bassam Tariq’s “Mecca, Texas,” Hannah Sanghee Park’s “The Beauty,” Elizabeth Richardson’s “A Forest Without Hours,” Naima Ramos-Chapman’s “Yeve or Sad Songs in Languages I Don’t Understand,” Oualid Mouaness’s “1982: A Day in Wissam’s Life,” Vuk Lungulov-Klotz’s “Quiltro” and Christopher Kahunahana’s “Waikiki.”
Launched in 2013 as part of Sundance’s Diversity Initiative, the Screenwriters Intensive provides an intimate group of emerging writers and writer/directors the opportunity to hone their craft in a two-day concentrated workshop. The Intensive agenda includes a hands-on writing workshop, a screening of a recent Sundance film followed by a candid conversation with the filmmaker, and one-on-one story sessions with creative advisors to get feedback on their work-in-progress scripts.
More information about the program can be found here.
2017 Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize
– The Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) has announced that Annie Pulsipher, a film student at Carnegie Melon, is winner of the $30,000 prize for her screenplay “The Glowing Gene.” She will also receive guidance from Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred. P Sloan Foundation.
The Sloan prize aims to influence a new generation of filmmakers and to help aspiring screenwriters integrate science and technology subject matter into their projects. Every year, six leading film schools – AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC – submit one Sloan-winning screenplay for consideration for the prize. The winner receives $30,000 in prize money, an invitation to hear talks from industry experts during the Tribeca Film Festival, and an invitation to a “Sloan Works-In-Progress” reading also at the Festival, as well as partnerships with one science and one film mentor who will provide them with professional guidance and support to advance their career.
More information about the prize can be found here.
2017 BAVC National MediaMaker Fellows
– Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) has announced the multiplatform documentary makers and projects that will receive the 2017 National MediaMaker Fellowship. The program provides training and support for independent artists working on social-issue documentary projects, with a focus on supporting emerging artists and underserved communities.
The Fellows will receive professional support for their social issue media projects and meet for three immersive workshops in the Bay Area, at the Full Frame film festival in Durham, North Carolina, and at another national industry event in the Fall.
The 2017 National MediaMaker Fellows are: Isabel Alcántara (Brooklyn, NY), “The Age of Water;” Laura Green (San Francisco, CA), “Human Conditions;” Nyjia July (Los Angeles, CA), “Listen to My Heartbeat;” Emelie Mahdavian (Benicia, CA), “Midnight Traveller;” Kristina Motwani (San Francisco, CA), “What Happened to Amos?;” Tracey Quezada (Oakland, CA), “You, Me and the Fruit Trees;” Rodrigo Reyes (Merced, CA), “Sansón and Me;” and Eugene Yi (Astoria, NY), “Free Chol Soo Lee.”
If you know of any upcoming filmmaker opportunities please drop us a line at IWfilmmakeropportunities@gmail.com.